Proposed homeless shelter causes uproar in Olympia

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A proposed low-barrier homeless shelter is creating an uproar in the state's capital after neighbors learned where shelter would be built.

Neighbors say the proposed shelter would let sex offenders, felons and drug addicts move in a half a block from Saint Michael's kids program and less than half a mile from Avanti High School and Madison Elementary.

And they say they're furious because they first leaned about this proposal about a week and a half ago from a local newspaper.

"Putting a high-risk shelter right beside three schools and a residential neighborhood is just not appropriate," said Jessica Archer.

Hundreds of angry residents gathered Monday night to voice their displeasure with the proposed facility.

"It's supposed to be an open forum and I think its just a continuation of them wanting to sneak the shelter into our neighborhood," said Jessica Archer.

Right now, there are no state laws preventing sex offenders from living near schools or parks. It takes a court order to deny the worst sex offenders, but it's rare. So far the police, and some in the city have supported the plan, saying Olympia needs the help.

"Open the doors so that more people can actually use shelters rather than be out on the street," said Daniel Kadden with Interfaith Works.

But neighbors opposed to the plan have now organized a group called "Concerned Eastside Neighbors" and are holding heir own meeting about the proposed shelter Monday night at St. Michael Parish from 7-9 p.m. Organizers say you don't need to live in a neighborhood to attend the forum.